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Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobiology
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Landscape, Process and Power
Re-evaluating Traditional Environmental Knowledge
Edited by Serena Heckler
304 pages, 21 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-84545-549-1 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (April 2009)
ISBN 978-0-85745-613-7 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (February 2012)
eISBN 978-1-84545-904-8 eBook
“…presents an excellent overview of the study of traditional environmental knowledge (TEK)and the directions in which it has evolved in recent years…Individually but especially together, the contributors of this volume do a fine job at providing a contextualized and fluid understanding of TEK…I have no hesitation in recommending this volume not only to anyone wishing to catch up on recent developments in TEK research, but also as a useful teaching resource in a range of anthropology courses.” · JRAI
“This volume succeeds in its purpose to dislodge enduring western notions of TEK [traditional environmental knowledge] as static and to firmly center it within an analytical framework of landscape, process, and power…The critical perspectives of the authors of this book would prompt lively discussion in the classroom, and the books grounding in ethnographic detail and applications are of interest to both research academics and practitioners.” · Ethnobiology Letters
In recent years, the field of study variously called local, indigenous or traditional environmental knowledge (TEK) has experienced a crisis brought about by the questioning of some of its basic assumptions. This has included reassessing notions that scientific methods can accurately elicit and describe TEK or that incorporating it into development projects will improve the physical, social or economic well-being of marginalized peoples. The contributors to this volume argue that to accurately and appropriately describe TEK, the historical and political forces that have shaped it, as well as people’s day-to-day engagement with the landscape around them must be taken into account. TEK thus emerges, not as an easily translatable tool for development experts, but as a rich and complex element of contemporary lives that should be defined and managed by indigenous and local peoples themselves.
Serena Heckler received her Ph.D. in ethnobotany, environmental anthropology and sustainable development from Cornell University and is a research fellow at Durham University. She has lived and worked with the Wõthihã of the Venezuelan Amazon, studying the ways in which the market economy and demographic change have affected their environmental knowledge. She is currently undertaking participatory research on similar themes with the Shuar of Ecuador, in collaboration with the Intercultural University of Indigenous Peoples and Nations-Amawtay Wasi based in Quito, Ecuador.